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Crist taps two new utility regulators

by Dara Kam | September 21st, 2010

Gov. Charlie Crist selected two new utility regulators, including West Palm Beach assistant city administrator Eduardo Balbis, to fill upcoming vacancies on the Public Service Commission.

Crist also tapped Julie I. Brown, a former city attorney for Tampa.

Balbis, 38, is an environmental engineer who has worked for West Palm Beach since 2008. He’s also a member of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning council and serves as chairman of the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility Board.

Brown, 35, is associate legal counsel for First American Corporation and also is the sole owner of J.T. Swann Realty Inc.

The new commissioners will fill the seats of current PSC Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano, a former state senator, and Nathan Skop, an engineer, attorney and MBA. Skop and Argenziano, whose terms expire in January, were outspoken critics of the PSC and were not among the candidates selected by the PSC Nominating Council for reappointment.

Crist passed over Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs, who led the PSC Nominating Council until he resigned to apply for one of the PSC posts, and former PSC Executive Director Mary Bane.

Bane was in charge during a PSC scandal involving staffers sending secret BlackBerry messages to utility employees during rate increase hearings last fall.

The Senate must confirm Crist’s new hires. Last year, they refused to confirm two of his picks – Benjamin “Steve” Stevens, a Panhandle bar owner and accountant and David Klement, a newspaper editorial writer.

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3 Responses to “Crist taps two new utility regulators”

  1. John T Says:

    Crist did good not picking Constantine, but he should have challenged the Legislature and picked no one.

    The whole list was Okd by the utilities to make sure they never get a Stevens, Argenziano, Klement or Skop ever again.

    Charlie gave in when he could have challenged the legislature.

    I guess I vote for Meek.

  2. Me Says:

    The truth is, these two make no difference at the PSC because the utlities already have three commissioners in place. Three that Charlie Crist appointed.

    Edgar, the utility commissioner, Brise and Graham.

    If the two Crist picked today are not on the utilities list of “acceptable” to them, and I know they are, but lets say they have a little less obvious attachment to the utilities then the others on the list, they will be the two opposite votes of the current three utility picks when the utls want what they cannot justify, their two votes will mean absoluley nothing.

    The utilities have made darn certain that they will always have the majority votes.

    So to Charlie, thanks for doing nothing to help get the PSC to be fair.

    We have all witnessed, and continue to witness, that “FAIR” commissioners will be removed, raked over the coals, and crushed so they never return, and remember Charlie did nothing. He pretended to care. Did nothing. He is the Governor for Gods sake, he had opions, he could have made a very big impact if he had said NO.

    Charlie Crist is a big disapointment. He could have stood up for the people of this state. Instead he pretends that this whole process has validity.

    Sorry Charlie. Thats what I will be saying to myself in the voting booth.

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